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KARACHI: International Markets Development Division-II(TDAP, Karachi)and Pakistan Embassy (Trade and Investment Officer in Iran) organized a webinar titled “Trade Promotion between Pakistan and Iran” on 3rd March, 2021.

The following were the main speakers at the webinar: Masood Ahmed, Trade and Investment Counsellor of Pakistan at Tehran, Iran, Arshad Javed Sandal, Chairman, Pakistan Sports Goods Exporters Association, Zeeshan Tariq, Chairman, Pakistan Surgical Goods Exporters Association, Malik Faisal Jehangir, Senior Vice Chairman, Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan, Hessameddin A. Hallaj, Deputy for Int’l Affairs, Tehran Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Abdol Hakim Rigi, President, Zahidan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Syedreza Aghazadeh, DG, Trade Promotion Organization (TPO) of Iran.

The participants from various sectors especially exporters of rice, sports goods, and surgical goods attended the webinar. In opening remarks, Benazeer Chachar, Director, International Markets Development Division-II, welcomed the participants in webinar and briefly touched upon the potential of Pak-Iran trade.

Speaking on the potential of Pak-Iran trade, Masood Ahmed, Trade and Investment Counsellor of Pakistan at Tehran, observed that the true potential of Pak-Iran trade is not harnessed due to hurdles such as sanctions on Iran, non-tariff barriers, and non-finalization of FTA between Pakistan and Iran. However, the opening of new border crossing points with Iran has enhanced interaction between business community from both sides, and a formal border mechanism will help counter U.S sanctions on Pak-Iran trade.

Arshad Javed Sandal, Chairman, Pakistan Sports Goods Exporters Association informed the participants that sports goods of Pakistan, especially football, have reasonable export market in Iran owing to the fact that football and other sports are quite famous in Iran. He also highlighted the importance of Rimdan border crossing and E-Commerce in the overall trade between Pakistan and Iran.

Zeeshan Tariq, Chairman, Pakistan Surgical Goods Exporters Association, highlighted that Pakistan is one of the biggest international suppliers of surgical goods and Iran is a good market for export of surgical goods. However, the Iranian market can be effectively tapped if hurdles such as restrictions of FATF on Pakistan, sanctions on Iran and lack of financial channels with Iran are resolved.

Malik Faisal Jehangir, Senior Vice Chairman, Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan, informed that Pakistan’s exports of rice to Iran have seriously declined over the last few years, largely due to the fact that Pakistani exporters face difficulty in recovering money from Iranian importers due to the non-availability of banking channels between the two countries. He proposed that in order to improve trade between Pakistan and Iran, an effective payment mechanism should be established drawing from the pattern of payment mechanism between India and Iran.

Syedreza Aghazadeh, DG, Trade Promotion Organization of Iran, specifically proposed to promote barter trade and border markets between the two countries. This will help in countering the sanctions on trade with Iran and help to develop cross-border connectivity.

At the end of the session, Q&A session was held. The participants recognized payment barriers, regulatory barriers and infrastructural problems as the leading hindrances in Pak-Iran trade. They also proposed to establish an actionable plan within a specific time-frame, and formulation of a joint working group consisting of representatives from financial, regulatory and Customs authorities to resolve the hindrances in a practical way at the governmental level.—PR

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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